“If you drink some wine and there’s no one around to see it, does it still count against you?”
Katie’s counting that it won’t. A promising field-hockey player entering her senior year, an athletic scholarship is her ticket out of crummy little Deerfield, Maine. But she also loves the feeling she gets after three beers—and margaritas. That summer, handsome Alec romances her with deep conversation, sweet gestures and tequila. When he’s drunk, though, his sweetness disappears, and in trying to get away, Katie, also drunk, jeopardizes both her athletic career and their lives. She also gives him a very dangerous hold over her, one that sends her into an alcohol-fueled despair. There’s little subtlety to this book, from the title and cover to the “scared straight” descriptions of Katie’s vomiting jags. Debut author Luedeke gives the likable Katie sound psychological underpinnings to her alcoholism—her beer-swilling father abandoned them, her wine-drinking mother is hardly ever at home—and a truly hellish bind with Alec. She also gives her staunch friends, a supportive field-hockey coach, an awesome little brother and, eventually, a caring therapist. Add up the pieces, and the result is an above-average problem novel that will have readers flipping the pages in a literary version of rubbernecking.
Katie’s tale is so clearly a cautionary one, though, it may not reach the audience that most needs it. (Fiction. 14 & up)